As discussed in the Explained, The World’s Water Crisis: “nothing has as much embedded water as meat”, at a wapping 15,000 L water/kg of hamburger. Yet, global meat consumption per person has been increasing since the 1960s. Despite the astronomical amount of water needed to produce meat, this water consumption is not priced into the product. That is why we can buy cheeseburgers for $2.99 (yes, I just checked the price for the campus MacDonalds on UberEats). This is problematic!
My vision is for *some* of the price of water to be reflected in the price of a product. I envision a world where corporations pay for high water consumption and consumers have incentives to buy less meat. I hope that we can purchase meat products in smaller quantities, reserve them for more special occasions, eat more vegetarian/vegan meals, and for meals that do have meat, shift North American standards to accent dishes with meat rather than having meat-centred dishes.
I believe that we currently have an extreme mismatch between the pricing of meat/dairy products and their production costs, and environmental impacts. Meat, milk, cheese, eggs (and fruits and vegetables) are subsidized food in Canada. I value consumers having appropriately priced food products that factor in an environmental component, including foods that require high amounts of water for production. I think that vegetables, fruits, legumes, and grains should receive greater subsidies whereas animal products should receive less.
I would like there to be government interventions to factor in some of the price of water into
meat products (and other animal products too). Much like what Kai and Maia mentioned in class today, by establishing a corporate quota on water consumption after which water is costly/heavily taxed, would ensure that large quantities of water are paid for. Food policy for Canada must change in order to tackle the water crisis, which simultaneously also confronts other environmental issues (such as methane emissions).